Type-1 diabetes is no longer rare. This used to be called Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). It is now known that the immune system destroys the pancreatic islet cells that produce insulin. Once destroyed there is little chance they will recover. Your child or you will need to take insulin by injection or pump daily for the rest of your life.
Type-1 diabetes has been on the rise. In the years 2002–2005, 15,600 youth were diagnosed in the USA. In the under 10 years age group, the rate of new cases was 1 in 5000. I have had about 2 new cases a year in my practice of 10,000 so that fits with my experience.
It was thought that we didn’t know why the immune system was attacking the pancreas. I have a few ideas that I will share at the end.
What if you could do something to significantly reduce the chance that your unborn child would get diabetes? Turns out that the study “A maternal gluten-free diet reduces inflammation and diabetes incidence in offspring of NOD mice” (read here… ) showed that moms who were gluten-free prevented their offspring from getting type 1 diabetes!
While this study was on mice, preliminary studies are showing that being gluten free for pregnancy and while breast-feeding seems to be protective. I would add that you avoid wheat and gluten altogether. Sadly these grains have been so altered, through hybridization and genetic modifications, that our immune systems just don’t recognize these proteins as food and we mount an immune attack. Inflammation results and there is also the probability that parts of partially digested gluten protein looks enough like the proteins in the islet cells of the pancreas that our immune system thus attacks the pancreas.
The study found that fetal and early life gluten-free diets reduced the development of diabetes and changed the gut microbiota resulting in a less inflammatory immunological milieu in the gut and pancreas (to use the words of the authors).
What this means is that bacterial diversity and certain strains may be more protective than others. We know this to be the case. Probiotics (good bacteria) decrease inflammation. It seems that gluten is not only directly pro-inflammatory but also changes the bacterial makeup of the gut.
I agree with this study and hypothesis. If inflammation in the gut is bad, we should avoid all the things we can that would potentially trigger unnecessary inflammation. So what are some of the other offenders?
1. Gluten, from wheat and grains (the more refined the worse it is).
2. Aspartame (NutraSweet, Splenda) our body converts to formaldehyde = autoimmune attack on every tissue it reaches.
3. Antibiotics (they destroy the good bacteria leaving you vulnerable).
4. Sugar, junk food– it is pro-inflammatory.
5. Vaccines (especially aluminum containing and giving many too young). We know that the current schedule shifts the immune system to a more allergic state.
6. Foods high in histamine (for those vulnerable– see that blog from earlier this week)
I’m sure I’m forgetting a few key ones. Please respond in the comments with the main ones I’ve forgotten.